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11 Jan 23

The SDG Impact Finance Initiative Window announces its first winners

In its first proposals for funding, the SDG Impact Finance Initiative has awarded USD 1.5 million to seven winners after a highly competitive process reviewing 76 proposals. The Initiative is funded by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO, the Swiss Development Cooperation Agency SDC, the UBS Optimus Foundation and the Credit Suisse Foundation.

With support from Convergence, the global network for blended finance, and the expert insights of our Investment Committee, we reviewed a large field of high quality proposals that responded to our call for impact finance design ideas with the potential to make a meaningful difference on four of the UN Sustainable Goals: SDG 4 (Quality Education), SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), SDG 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production), and SDG 13 (Climate Action). All proposals were assessed against pre-defined eligibility and evaluation criteria (see the list of criteria here).

The proposals selected are:

  • Carbon Fund for Nature-based Solutions: Feasibility grant for CrossBoundary to develop a USD 57 million blended debt fund to finance projects in afforestation, reforestation and revegetation (ARR) and reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) projects, starting in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Carbon Impact Strategy: Proof-of-concept grant to help BlueOrchard finalize the structure for a USD 300-500 million equity fund that will invest in conservation, reforestation and afforestation projects in emerging markets.
  • Colibri Catalyst: Support for proof-of-concept for the design of a USD 150-200 million close-ended vehicle from Demeter Initiative that will pool concessional capital to de-risk intermediary vehicles investing in natural climate solutions and enable them to attract commercial capital.
  • Ghana SDG-SME Fund of Funds: Feasibility grant awarded to Ground Up Project, working through local partners, to validate and scope a USD 250 million fund of funds structure to mobilize domestic and international institutional investments into SDG aligned SMEs in Ghana.
  • Global Finance for Education Fund: Grant awarded to the Global Schools Forum to assess the feasibility of a USD 35 million blended finance fund to improve access to and quality of education through impact-linked financing to education providers in India, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan and Uganda.
  • Offgrid.Finance Pop-UP SPVs: Feasibility support to Offgrid.Finance to scale a USD 100 million pop-up special purpose vehicle model in Kenya that raises larger investments which can be broken down into smaller, de-risked loans for SMEs to purchase cleantech and productive use assets.
  • Microleasing Fund: Expansion grant awarded to adOpes to support fundraising and deployment of a USD 100 million evergreen debt fund to provide asset financing tailored to the needs of smallholder farmers and micro enterprises in East Africa.

Congratulations to the seven winners. The SDG Impact Finance Initiative is very pleased to be starting with such a strong and ambitious set of ideas, and we are looking forward to working with our new partners and seeing the results of their work.

We thank Convergence for the professional management of the call for proposals and the Investment Committee – composed of Amit Brar, Bart van Eyk, Lily Han, Sebastien Boye, and Thelma Ekiyor – for bringing in their expertise and experience in assessing shortlisted proposals.